Indian Pompano cultivated successfully in Karnataka’s coastal waters through cage culture

Indian Pompano cultivated successfully in Karnataka's coastal waters through cage culture

UDUPI: In a remarkable achievement, the scientists at the Mangalore Regional Centre of ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute have successfully cultivated Indian Pompano (Trachinotus mookalee) for the first time in the state.
The journey began in 2009-10 when the researchers introduced cage culture to Karnataka’s coastal waters. Over the years, the technique gained popularity, with approximately 800-900 cages now installed in estuarine waters along the Karnataka coast. The success of cage culture attracted financial support from the department of Fisheries, Karnataka, National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB), and other organizations, benefiting over 500 families engaged in the sector.
Seabass, red snapper, and snubnose pompano were among the species successfully reared in the cages for nearly a decade. Now, a significant milestone has been achieved as Indian Pompano, is being cultivated for the first time. The inaugural farming project took place in the Swarna estuary, Paduthonse village, Udupi district, under the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan program (SCSP), which focuses on promoting inclusive growth and livelihood opportunities for marginalized communities.
Beneficiaries of the SCSP programme received comprehensive hands-on training on various aspects of cage culture, imparted through participatory methods. Indian Pompano seeds, measuring 2-3 cm, were procured from the marine finfish hatchery of the Vishakhapatnam Regional Centre of ICAR-CMFRI. In November 2022, 4,000 seeds, weighing an average of 3-4g, were stocked in two fabricated cages in Paduthonse. The fingerlings were acclimatized to the local conditions before being released into the cages at a stocking density of 40-50 fish per cubic meter. The pompano fingerlings were fed pelleted floating feed (Skerting-Stella feed, Bheemavaram, Andhra Pradesh) twice a day, amounting to 5% of their body weight.
After a five-month grow-out period, the Indian Pompano was harvested in batches between June 2 and June 26. The average growth observed during this period was 400-450 grams, resulting in a total harvest of 1,300 kg of pompano with an impressive survival rate of 90%. The beneficiaries sold the harvested fish locally, fetching prices ranging from Rs 450 to Rs. 490 per kg. The total revenue generated by the beneficiaries amounted to Rs. 6.10 lakh. The expenses incurred is around Rs. 3.75 lakh.
The successful cultivation of Indian Pompano (Trachinotus mookalee) in coastal Karnataka has demonstrated its rapid growth rate, favourable market demand, and ability to reach the preferred table size within a short period of 5-6 months. The research programme is led by Dr A P Dineshbabu and his team of scientists, including Dr Sujitha Thomas, Dr Geetha Sasikumar, Dr Rajesh K M, and Dr Divya Viswambharan from the Mangalore Regional Centre of ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute.